These mini cheesecakes are infused with a burst of lemon to give them a fresh, summery flavor! The individual desserts give you the perfect balance of sweet, tart and creamy.
I teamed up with Nielsen-Massey to bring you this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Late last year I had the opportunity to attend a baking class at a local cooking school. The focus was on cheesecake so though I don't do a lot of baking for the blog I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite summer cheesecake recipes. These traditional cheesecakes are infused with lemon giving them a bright taste of summer.
Lighter desserts are ideal for the warmer spring and summer months and lemon is such a classic summer dessert flavor. I made these into individual cheesecakes so you can make a smaller batch and I'm also just a big fan of single-serving desserts! If you are entertaining a larger group you can double or even triple this recipe without any modifications.
To make these, you’ll start out with a simple homemade graham cracker crust - some graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and a touch of sugar. You’ll mix that up and press it into your cupcake liners, then bake for a few minutes while you make the filling.
I've got this cool mini cheesecake pan that I use when I make these for a party but wanted to make it easy for anyone to make these so used a regular muffin tin for these.
This cheesecake filling is really easy - you’ll be using some cream cheese, sugar, lemon extract and zest, vanilla and an egg. Nielsen-Massey's organic lemon extract provides the perfect lemon flavoring for these without being over-powering.
Tips for Making the Perfect Mini Cheesecake
Cheesecake is actually fairly simple to make if you keep a few important tips in mind:
- You want to make sure your cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature before getting started. This will ensure a super smooth and creamy cheesecake filling with no lumps.
- You want to keep your mixer on very low speed for the entire mixing process. Too much air in a cheesecake can result in the cheesecakes falling quite a bit when you take them out of the oven. Also, don't overbeat the mixture after you add the egg. You want to just incorporate it.
- Don’t overbake your mini cheesecakes! You want to bake them for about 17-20 minutes or until the tops are set. The cheesecakes will continue to firm up as they cool and once they’re chilled.
- Let it cool before you put it in the refrigerator. For these mini cheesecakes, 30-40 minutes is enough. If you are making a full-sized cheesecake, let it cool for 45-60 minutes before refrigerating.
things you may want for this recipe
Mini Cheesecake pan – If you are a fan of cheesecakes and individual desserts this is a fun pan to have. It's ideal for mini cheesecakes as it gives you a truly bite-sized version and the bottoms pop out making it easy to remove the cheesecakes.
Nielsen-Massey Lemon Extract - I'm a huge fan of Nielsen-Massey's extracts. I think they have the best flavor and come they come in pretty much any variety you could possibly need for your baking, cooking or cocktail needs! They can be found at a number of different stores including Whole Foods and Sur La Table and can also be ordered online.
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 3 graham cracker sheets
- 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
For the cheesecake:
- 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey lemon extract
- ¼ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 6 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
- Remove the cream cheese and eggs from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.
- Add the graham crackers to a food processor fitted with a standard blade and pulse until crumbled. Add the butter and sugar then mix until combined. Divide the mixture between the 6 muffin cups and press into the bottom of each cup. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- While the crusts are baking, add the cream cheese and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low until combined and smooth. Add the extracts and beat again on low until combined. Add the egg, mixing on low speed until just blended.
- Spoon the cheesecake mixture into the muffin cups, filling nearly to the top. Try to divide as evenly as possible to ensure consistent baking.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- When ready to serve, remove cheesecakes from the refrigerator. If you like you can remove from cupcake liners or just leave them in the liners. Top cheesecakes with sliced strawberries or other berries of your choice.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a regular hand mixer, just keep the speed a low as possible.
- I generally try to make cheesecake early in the day or even the day before I want to serve it so it has plenty of time to cool.
- Cook and prep time does not include cooling time, so be sure to leave at least 90 minutes additional to allow the cheesecakes to cool.